Awkward: Now Canada is joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Emma Haslett
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Visits To China
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given the thumbs-up to the AIIB (Source: Getty)

Remember that time the UK put the US' nose out of joint by deciding to join the controversial Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)?

Now the US' closest neighbour has done the same: today Canada said, in an effort to "create hope and opportunity for our middle class as well as for people around the world", it will also apply to join the bank. Awkward.

Read more: Danny Alexander named as vice president of new AIIB

Canada's decision "shows its confidence in the strong foundations the Bank has built in our first few months", said Jin Liqun, president of AIIB, at a press conference this morning.

"Canada has a remarkable track record of multilateral engagement, and I believe it will contribute significantly to the development of this bank."

In March last year the UK announced it will join the AIIB, despite efforts by the US to persuade its allies the institution poses a threat to the World Bank, which is seen as a rival.

The lender, headquartered in Beijing, launched at the beginning of this year. Its board of governors held their first meeting on 25 June.

US officials are worried about the AIIB because of its potential to manipulate foreign policy. But when the UK applied to join, then-chancellor George Osborne was adamant backing it was the right decision.

“Joining the AIIB at the founding stage will create an unrivalled opportunity for the UK and Asia to invest and grow together,” he said.

That said, Prime Minister Theresa May is rather less enthusiastic about investment opportunities with China. She's already pushed back a decision on building a nuclear reactor at the Hinkley Point power station, which will be part-financed by China, reportedly because of concerns over security. That has prompted accusations she is abandoning Osborne's attempts to forge ties with China.

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